She was utterly terrified about swimming competitively, she can be quite a timid soul in the strange situations (there are people all over the country wondering do I have two daughters called Rebecca. Timid? Rebecca?) But she put aside her tears and lined up for the Bearsden & Milngavie Club Championships 25 m freestyle for eight-year-olds. She dived elagantly into the pool and in doing so, her goggles came off. She didn’t blink (literally). She wavered however; she swam off at a diagonal into the rope dividing her lane from the next, she changed direction and swam into the wall. She ploughed on with her eyes tightly shut, she overtook the field and finished first. I was gobsmacked. A different little girl emerged from the pool. She stood staring up at the balcony, mouthing the words “I finished first”. She swaggered around the pool for the rest of the day.
Ella also won her race, in a more conventional style by gliding effortlessly through the water, winning by 15 m in a 50 m race. She has developed all my sporting prowess (which amounts to a very small contribution to her skills, if any at all. Maybe she just inherited my big feet.)
Their reward for doing this? For being the club champions at their age group? Nothing. You’re only awarded a medal if you attend the morning and afternoon sessions of the swimming gala. We were unable to attend the morning.
Rewarding attendance rather than achievement. It sucks.